Summer Health Hazards: Bites and Stings

January 01, 0001

Buzzzzzz… smack. OUCH! Unfortunately bee stings and bug bites are not an uncommon occurrence during the summer. Warm weather activities like outdoor barbecues, camping and hiking are all a welcome invitation for some of our least favorite critters to crash the party.

For parents, these pesky visitors can pose even more of a challenge when their little ones are the victims of an attack. So what can you do?

Bee stings – These are very common with children because kids often don’t realize they’re swatting at a bee until it’s too late. Remember not everyone is allergic to a bee sting and parents can often remove the stinger themselves. The trick with this is to scrape the stinger out (don’t grab the end as that will inject more venom).

If your child is allergic, he or she will likely develop a large red welt at the site of the sting. Some children may experience more severe symptoms including wheezing and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your child is allergic, take them to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. 

Mosquito bites – Prevention is often best with these insects that most often come out at dusk. I recommend parents use a mosquito spray, lotion or area repellent to help keep these bugs away from their children.

If your child gets bit, try to prevent the scratching as much as possible since that really will make it worse. Calamine lotion or Benadryl can help.

Creepy crawlers – Here in Northern Nevada we have our share of scorpions, black widows and rattle snakes. To avoid scorpion bites, don’t walk around barefoot. Another good practice is to not reach into a dark space without looking since that’s where black widows like to hide (under the BBQ, near the sprinkler valves). While only females are poisonous, seek medical care if you know you or your child was bit by a female. You may also start to notice the area turn red where the sting occurs.

Use common sense and avoid snakes to be safe. We generally see more bites in Sept. and Oct. because snakes will seek out water. If you or your child is bit, call 9-1-1 or head to the ER.

For more information about preventing summer health hazards visit the health resource library at renown.org/children.

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